Saturday, February 26, 2011

Golden Advice: Polish, Polish, Polish

This month my Golden Advice series has focused on the craft of writing. To wrap up the series, I'm going to talk about finishing the work. This is analogous to fine-hand stitching to finish off a garment. To make your works rise to the top, it's all about the details, folks.

There is nothing quite like printing out a manuscript and holding it in your hands. It's gives you a warm-fuzzy feeling. I'm sure it's the same feeling that a picture book artist feels when they have made a dummy.

Once you have a good story and fine characters. All the hard work is done. You've put your book out for first reads from trusted colleagues and you've followed their sage advice. You are breathing easier. Let the good feeling of success fill you, but don't send it out yet.

At this stage it time to polish your work like a silver tea set. I go through my manuscript and mark every line that I'm not sure about grammar-wise, and I look up the rules and revise accordingly. I read the manuscript for pure logic.

Does a character have red hair on page 80 and grey hair on page 170 with no evil magician casting aging spells? I fix that stuff. I also cut any bits that just don't move the story forward. It's just space-stuffing filler. I take it out.

My manuscript get thin, lean, and awesome! I've also got a list of possible word abuse and I cover that. I check commonly misused words they're, their and there and the ilk. I basically fix any problem I can possibly think of.

My advice this week is simple. Don't neglect the detail work. Tuck in the fine touches. Make the work sing. Seize the day.

This week's doodle: "Orange Boy".

Quote for the week:

A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching. Sivananda

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